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Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg

DigiTrad:
A HORSE NAMED BILL
DIXIE, THE LAND OF KING COTTON
DIXIE'S LAND


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Sarah the Whale (18)
Lyr Add: Horse Named Bill - Know More?? (36)
Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE (31)
(origins) Origins: Meaning of lyrics to Dixie Land (15)
(origins) Origins: Dixie (67)
Folklore: Where is Dixie (57)
Why is 'Dixie' considered racist? (104) (closed)
Lyr Req: Everybody's Dixie (Albert Pike) (4)
(origins) Origins: Dixie (25)


katlaughing 11 Nov 02 - 11:46 AM
IanC 11 Nov 02 - 12:00 PM
Kim C 11 Nov 02 - 12:05 PM
The Pooka 11 Nov 02 - 12:16 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Nov 02 - 12:36 PM
Kim C 11 Nov 02 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,Q 11 Nov 02 - 01:08 PM
X 11 Nov 02 - 07:03 PM
masato sakurai 11 Nov 02 - 08:38 PM
Lighter 23 May 05 - 03:25 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 May 05 - 03:55 PM
GUEST,Lighter 23 May 05 - 05:33 PM
GLoux 24 May 05 - 07:15 AM
Goose Gander 24 May 05 - 10:54 AM
GUEST,MTed 24 May 05 - 12:02 PM
farmerj 24 May 05 - 12:35 PM
Lighter 24 May 05 - 01:21 PM
Goose Gander 24 May 05 - 01:38 PM
farmerj 24 May 05 - 04:10 PM
farmerj 24 May 05 - 04:31 PM
Goose Gander 24 May 05 - 05:07 PM
Uncle_DaveO 24 May 05 - 05:09 PM
M.Ted 24 May 05 - 05:19 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 May 05 - 05:30 PM
jpk 24 May 05 - 05:32 PM
GLoux 24 May 05 - 06:47 PM
Lighter 24 May 05 - 09:39 PM
farmerj 24 May 05 - 11:01 PM
Kaleea 24 May 05 - 11:32 PM
Greg F. 24 May 05 - 11:49 PM
Goose Gander 24 May 05 - 11:57 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 May 05 - 02:03 AM
GUEST,Lighter at work 25 May 05 - 09:36 AM
farmerj 25 May 05 - 09:51 AM
An Englishman Abroad 25 May 05 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,Lighter at lunch 25 May 05 - 12:01 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 May 05 - 05:02 PM
Goose Gander 25 May 05 - 05:08 PM
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Subject: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interesti
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 Nov 02 - 11:46 AM

This was an interesting story on NPR this morning. Text of the story plus sound clips area available by clicking here.

I'd be interested in hearing your take on this.

Thanks,

kat


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: IanC
Date: 11 Nov 02 - 12:00 PM

I've always thought it shares quite a lot of its melody with "The Dashing White Sergeant"

;-)


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: Kim C
Date: 11 Nov 02 - 12:05 PM

That he may have borrowed it from someone else may be true. But I'm not sure about the lyrics representing slavery as a paradise: the lyrics are largely nonsense, like a lot of minstrel tunes were.

Buckwheat cakes and injun batter
Makes you fat or a little fatter
Look away, look away, look away, Dixie Land

Hmm...


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: The Pooka
Date: 11 Nov 02 - 12:16 PM

Fascinating. Thanks kat.

Boy those Southern and Northern "patriotic anthem" rewrites are bad!
No wonder they didn't catch on.

This New England Yankee has to agree with this, from the piece [just a short excerpt, Joe O. - and, it's Music!:]-

"The song's music is of undeniable infectious quality," Cockrell says. "It's anthem-like. It's in 4/4 so it's a kind of propulsive march-like dance rhythm. One can hardly help but be affected just by the musical quality of it."

But then, the Stars & Bars are pretty, too. Well - striking, anyway. However, acquired symbolic significance is, well, significant.

The various early minstrel-dialect verses are most interesting. / I learned "Dixie" at my Maryland grandparents' house, "Gammy" playing the old piano. Her songsheet included the "buckwheat cakes and Injun batter" verse; but not, as I recall, the "Ole Missus" ones.


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Nov 02 - 12:36 PM

I had a horse, his name was Bill


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: Kim C
Date: 11 Nov 02 - 12:46 PM

I went to the DigiTrad and looked at the lyrics, just to make sure... the song itself doesn't even allude to slavery. It mentions cotton, but not picking it...


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 11 Nov 02 - 01:08 PM

The original Daniel Emmett words and music of Dixie's Land are posted in thread 25204, 17 Oct 01, with the words of a revision made in 1860, adding the two verses with buckwheat cakes, etc.
Dixie's Land

It seems impossible for many people to view the old minstrel tunes in historical context. They prefer to treat 19th century beliefs, practices, and language as something to be hidden in the closet. Perhaps the integration struggle is still too close for history to be viewed objectively.

Negro secular songs, extremely abundant and diversified, interacted with the minstrel songs, a lively exchange between the two groups. It is impossible in many cases to determine who is responsible for the many verses that have survived, both in collection of Negro and White folk songs and in the published collections of minstrel songs.

Forgotten is the fact that, outside of the established towns and cities, whites as well as blacks had their own variations on the English language. It should be remembered that the dialect (admittedly exaggerated) of the minstrel singers was perfectly understood by the white audience.
The evidence for a prior version of Dixie's Land is not wholy convincing, but at this remove, much of what we accept as fact is based on relatively unsupported anecdote.

IanC, there is that possibility. - Something about the tune for Dixie's Land has always reminded me of some of the little European quickstep marches, which I have heard from time to time but never quite remember. A Moravian Band played for the Southern side in one battle ( I will look it up- their music book was preserved) and there were other similar groups of immigrant musicians across the country before and after the War. A few changes to a melody and presto! A new one!


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: X
Date: 11 Nov 02 - 07:03 PM

I stuck my head in a little skunk's hole
Little skunk said, "Well bless my Soul
Take it out, take it out, take it out! Remove it!"


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: masato sakurai
Date: 11 Nov 02 - 08:38 PM

I can't believe their comment: "Emmett wrote such early American standards as 'Turkey in the Straw' and 'Blue-Tail Fly.'"
~Masato


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: Lighter
Date: 23 May 05 - 03:25 PM

I read the entire book "Way Up North in Dixie" with an open mind. On the evidence presented there, though, the idea that Emmett learned the song from African-American neighbors is, to say the least, entirely improbable. The argument is mainly constructed of "maybe," "could have been," and "would not have been impossible."

The people involved were obviously real, but IMHO the author's theory is a classic example of academic wishful thinking.


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 May 05 - 03:55 PM

In thread 54140, I checked the genealogy of a couple of the supposed informants (Snowden brothers) and found that they were only 5-6 years old at the time Emmett was there. I haven't read it, but was the book "Way Up North..." based on some more of the same mis-information?


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 23 May 05 - 05:33 PM

Q, your finding surprises even cynical ol' me. I guess I still managed to give the author too much credit.


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: GLoux
Date: 24 May 05 - 07:15 AM

Knowing the authors of the book, I gave them a heads-up with regard to the comments in this thread. Judy Sacks asked me to post her comments...

-Greg

______________________________________________________________________

Hello all,

It's great to hear the lively discussion concerning our book, Way Up North in Dixie. May I add a few comments:

The Snowden parents, not their children, were age peers to Dan Emmett. If any learning of the song transpired between these artists, it would more likely have been with the Snowden parents. The two surviving Snowden musicians, the brothers Ben and Lew, were teenagers, not children, when Emmett was first in the county. If someone looks into the census records over several decades (not taking just one), he or she can see that the ages are correctly stated in the book. Also, Emmett continued to return periodically in later years, when the Snowden children were older. At no point do we suggest that Emmett learned from children, although he could have, if children continued their family's musical knowledge.

Concerning the remark about "academic wishful thinking": linking the Snowdens to "Dixie" is an exploration of the oral tradition of a particular community in Ohio, not something we cooked up to serve a private agenda. Over at least four generations, these people have asserted that the Snowdens are sources for "Dixie." So the "wish," if any, belongs to this community. In addition, it was blackface minstrels themselves--including Emmett--who claimed that they drew their material directly from black sources, so we were following their lead in asking, "yes, but from whom? And how?"

African Americans who've responded to our work know well the legacy of borrowing and exploitation of black creativity in American music (think Paul Whiteman/Patti Page/Elvis/Pat Boone/Vanilla Ice/Eminem etc). For many, this is an old, old tale.

Regards, Judy Sacks


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: Goose Gander
Date: 24 May 05 - 10:54 AM

"African Americans who've responded to our work know well the legacy of borrowing and exploitation of black creativity in American music (think Paul Whiteman/Patti Page/Elvis/Pat Boone/Vanilla Ice/Eminem etc). For many, this is an old, old tale"

There are two basic, flawed assumptions in this statement: One, that musical hybridization between blacks and whites was one-sided (whites borrowed from blacks), and two, that whites merely exploited and appropriated black music. Both are demonstrably incorrect. What Archie Green called creolization in American music has been going on for 500 years. This, for many, is also an old, old tale. Writers like Bill Malone, Robert Cantwell and Elijah Wald have gone into depth regarding the interchange between white and black musicians, but the strongest evidence for creolization is American music itself. To list two obvious examples, look into the origins and evolution of gospel and bluegrass.

Regarding the specific example of "Dixie", maybe Emmett learned it from the Snowdens and maybe he didn't. As far as I know, there is no conclusive evidence either way.


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: GUEST,MTed
Date: 24 May 05 - 12:02 PM

I think it is important to note Judy Sacks comment--that their book is an examination of local oral tradition, rather than an examination of who wrote or did not write "Dixie"--This story is interesting in the same way that "Urban Legends" are interesting--not because we believe or disbelieve them, but because they resonate with us--

Think about what the story is--that "Dixie", which had become an anthem for segregation and thinly
veneered racism, was actually written by blacks! It is an irony with a moral--in the manner of all the best Urban Legends--


Also--"Dixie" debates aside, the ohiohistory.org link above also has some amazing ex-slave narratives--


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: farmerj
Date: 24 May 05 - 12:35 PM

Michael,
This is Judy responding.
I wasn't out to define the whole of musical influences but to say that white appropriation is a fact of American musical history. Not the only fact. It hardly needs to be emphasized that this is a hybridized musical culture; we and others have been extremely clear about this for years.

Howard published a very interesting article called "From the Barn to the Bowery and Back Again: Musical Routes in Rural Ohio" that traces the flow of music, not only between black and white Americans but also from folk to pop and back again. Key to this article is a discussion of how the Snowdens themselves reworked a Stephen Foster song--a minstrel song--as their own anthem. Dena Epstein, in Sinful Tunes and Spirituals, recounted instances of white observers listening to slaves and thinking they were singing "slave" songs, but they were actually pop songs from the hands of white minstrel composers.


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: Lighter
Date: 24 May 05 - 01:21 PM

Prof. Sacks is to be commended for being able to retain her good humor despite criticisms of "Way Up North in Dixie." As earlier reviewers have noted, "Way Up North in Dixie" really does provide a new and unique picture of a free African American family in Ohio before the Civil War.

But the question here is whether Daniel Emmett wrote "Dixie." The evidence all together, including that unearthed through dedicated work by the authors of "Way Up North in Dixie," says that yes, he really did. To assume otherwise on the basis of hearsay and conjecture is, I think, to engage in wishful thinking - as is pressing a position that has so few facts to recommend it.

I wonder, for example, what substantive resemblance there is between the melody of "Dixie" (surely the song's most strongest and most defining feature) and African American melodies in general? There's no first-hand contemporary counterclaim of authorship by anyone, and the circumstantial evidence for the Snowdens' involvement is limited. Whereas Emmett was a professional pop musician, there's no evidence that any of the Snowdens composed striking new melodies in a European style, and no demonstrated connection of "Dixie" to black musical idioms.

It's no surprise, but Daniel Emmett wrote "Dixie."


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: Goose Gander
Date: 24 May 05 - 01:38 PM

Judy-

Thank you for your response. I basically agree with you. Just a few questions: When the Snowdens reworked a Stephen Foster tune, were they 'exploiting' his music? When blacks sang tunes composed by white musicians, were they 'appropriating' white music? If it "hardly needs to be emphazised that this is a hybridized musical culture," why the loaded phrases that imply that when white musicians borrowed from black musicians, it was somehow 'theft'?

By they way, I am only responding to your comments in this forum, not to the whole of your work. I will make it a point to read more of your writings because I only have the barest familiarity with your work.


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: farmerj
Date: 24 May 05 - 04:10 PM

Hi Michael,
The "Dixie" book actually draws a picture of quite balanced musical exchange among blacks and whites, because we looked at people who lived together in essentially the same economic and social conditions. But it would be wishful thinking to suppose that all musical exchanges have been on equal footing, with equal benefits to all parties. I'd think there's little argument that African American artists historically have gotten the short end of the stick in terms of material and social recognition, compared to whites who made a career using elements of known black tradition. Can this be called exploitation? Sometimes, yes indeed. But when amateur, folk-based musicians cover pop music (such as Snowdens vs. Foster), it would be strange to think of that as exploitation in a way implying harm to the other party, for obvious reasons.

--
A final comment about Emmett as author of "Dixie": authorship is a tricky question for the remote past. Those who reject the Snowden thesis might want to look carefully at how professional minstrels came up with any songs they claimed to be their "own." Why would you suppose that minstrels were disconnected from oral and folk traditio--whether black or white--and didn't use it?


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: farmerj
Date: 24 May 05 - 04:31 PM

Excuse me for posting again, but I meant to say this to Lighter: The musicological connection of "Dixie" to Af Am tunes is well documented in the literature, covered in both Hans Nathan (1962) and Constance Rourke (1931). Rourke, an Af Am music scholar, wrote: "Emmett's walkarounds--'Dixie' was a walkaround--are particularly significant a suggesting Negro origins." Nathan has a lot to say about musicology questions.


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: Goose Gander
Date: 24 May 05 - 05:07 PM

Judy-

Interesting, I was just reading Hans Nathan regarding Emmett and the authorship of "Dixie".   For what it's worth, he writes:

"Stylistic comparison alone, unaided by dates, clearly establishes Emmett as the author of Dixie." (Hans Nathan, "Dixie," Musical Quarterly, vol. 35, no. 1, 1949, p.69)

He goes on to note similarities between the tune and other American tunes, both black and white, as well as affinities with English, Scottish and Scots-Irish tunes. If the question is the relationship between folk and popular music, that is another question. To rephrase my initial questions, was Emmett exploiting or appropriating the folk traditions of England and Scotland? Certainly, he paid no royalties to the anonymous composers of the numerous untraced folk airs from which he freely borrowed. And if we acknowledge that Emmett probably did borrow melodies and stylistic elements from the music of blacks, but that these melodies and elements were themselves partially derived from European antecedents, the question of authorship becomes even more convoluted.

Thanks again for responding.


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 24 May 05 - 05:09 PM

As is so often in the case when there are heated arguments, some definitions (or attempts thereat) are in order. I'm not going to try to create the definitions, because I'm not that brave, but here are some remarks that may help for the ideas that go into the definitions:

WRITE, WROTE, WRITTEN
When I "write" a song, what does that mean (other than the physical act of putting the dots down on paper, if that ever happens)? Does it necessarily mean that every single phrase of the music has sprung full-grown from my forehead, like Venus from the head of Zeus? Does it necessarily mean that both the "story line" of the song and all of the words and phrases necessarily found their first earthly existence in my mind?

I say no, to both propositions. Many, many excellent songs (and not only in the folk tradition, either!) are based on pre-existing ideas or stories.

How much change, in either/or words or tune, is necessary to call a song that is presented a different song from the song somebody else used to sing?

Going further, especially in past times, but even up to current memory, it has been pretty common for a collector (and some big names, too) to publish a song he found as his work, and in some cases with NO significant change. Think Lomax, John Jacob Niles, Bob Dylan, and McPeake.

So, if indeed Dan Emmett learned "a song" about Dixie from the folks discussed in this thread, how close was his Dixie to what he heard from them? Was it directly quoted? Slightly adapted? A thoroughgoing recast of words and/or music?   

And even if it was a direct repeat, I ask you to reread the paragraph before last. It won't change the facts, but in the context of his times it may affect the attitude we take toward him and the song.

I started out with two areas to discuss, and I got so windy in the above that I've forgotten what my second subject was. I may actually have covered it in the course of what I've already said.

So I'll stop.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: M.Ted
Date: 24 May 05 - 05:19 PM

A subtle point, but you can make this statement "African Americans who've responded to our work know well the legacy of borrowing and exploitation of black creativity in American music" and substitute the name of any other group with equal accuracy--

In the entertainment business(and the arts in general) the products of "creativity" are widely shared, but the profits from them are not--some of our greatest creative talents have died broke and broken--regardless of race, creed, or color--


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 May 05 - 05:30 PM

A "walk-around" has a black origin?
Hmmmm.
Always thought it was pretty universal.
All it amounted to was the performer strolling, dancing or whatever in front of the group, calling attention to himself, then performing his specialty.


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: jpk
Date: 24 May 05 - 05:32 PM

there were a he.. of a lot of slaves in the northland to,don't forget;the civil war was not about slavery,read your liclon,he said as much in articuls to a newyork paper in 1861[if i could save the union with out freeing a single slave i would,half the slaves i would,all the slaves i would.].and on raceism,remember the race riots in boston and other new england area towns,when desegragation of schools came to them by way of the courts.the whites started the trouble because it was ok in the south but the north did'nt need it, they were way to inlightend to submitte to forced bussing. i watched it all as i was growing up.


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: GLoux
Date: 24 May 05 - 06:47 PM

Hey, can I lighten things up a bit by extending a warm welcome to Judy Sacks for joining Mudcat? Already her contributions have significantly expanded the dimensions of this very interesting thread...

-Greg


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: Lighter
Date: 24 May 05 - 09:39 PM

Just what *is* the evidence for concluding that Daniel Emmett is *not* the author of "Dixie's Land"? What's the evidence that one or more of the Snowdens were ? Few readers of this thread will have had access to the book, whose musical subject matter should be of interest to many of us.

The statement that the Snowden argument is favored by "African Americans who have responded" to it is a little unsettling. What counts in a reasoned discussion is evidence, not popular appeal. This is true in both sociology and history.*

*Less true in politics, of course. ;)


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: farmerj
Date: 24 May 05 - 11:01 PM

Thank you to Greg for alerting me to this discussion and group of people concerned with music history.

Michael: Nathan is of value, but he also never laid a foot on Emmett's home turf and did all his work from secondary sources. He was much in need of updating. He would never have known, for example, that Emmett's song titles mentioned specific people and locations in Knox County, Ohio...and so on.
Lighter, in short: the book tells this story in great detail, so interested parties are welcome to look into it further. We know that some readers are not persuaded concerning thecommunity's (and our own) take on "Dixie's" origins, and so be it. There are facts in the world, but scholars and readers have the job of interpreting facts and events; we don't all do so in lockstep. Fortunately, we've had sympathetic reading from the most respected scholars of American music, general readers, and people in our home community (the same one that we write about.

Dave raises interesting questions about authorship, and we talk about it a bit in the book. In short, the subject is not even of much interest among people who mainly play music for pleasure or modest profit. It becomes a bigger deal for professional entertainers (like Emmett), whose livelihood depends on copyrights and royalties, in part. Snowdens had little to gain by asserting authorship, but Emmett surely did.

Finally, Q: a walkaround is a specific kind of minstrel performance bit, one that was used to close the show. It is not a generic term.
Regards,
Judy


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: Kaleea
Date: 24 May 05 - 11:32 PM

What tons of fun reading all the above & thinking that folks actually are using their noodles & finding out all this wonderful info. I always love the stories of how songs, tunes, various works came into being. I love the story. We can find out alot about our history & ourselves this way-whether all the facts are correct or only some facts, we still learn from it. "We" know that it was considered a great compliment when the European composers "quoted" the Music of another in their works. We also know that there have been many times when composers steal/borrow/quote from others. Even Stephen Foster is believed to have purloined a bit--as was done from him. This is all a part of our Musical Heritage, for better or for worse. We, as Musician's, are even now helping our Music to evolve by performing, composing, and seeking to know the roots of our Music. Listening to the very early Music often inspires us to learn & perform forgotten Music, and to compose new Music. Thanks for the continued lessons, Mudcat!


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: Greg F.
Date: 24 May 05 - 11:49 PM

don't forget;the civil war was not about slavery

Don't Forget: this is complete and utter nonsense, purveyed by Neo-Confederate idealogues and the generally uninformed and ignorant.


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: Goose Gander
Date: 24 May 05 - 11:57 PM

Judy-

Much of Nathan's work was based upon analysis of tunes, which by any definition should be considered primary sources. The fact that there is a claim in the oral tradition to African-American authorship for "Dixie" in itself proves nothing; it is fair to be skeptical regarding folk authority. To cite a few dubious examples: Woody Guthrie claimed to have written "Black Jack Davey"/"Gypsey Davey"; W.K McNeil writes of various traditional musicians in different times and places who claim to have known the real "Old Joe Clark" upon which the song was based; on the Todd-Sonkin collection, a migrant musician in California claims authorship of "Root Hog or Die".


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 May 05 - 02:03 AM

The walk-around was not just used at the end of a minstrel show; in the minstrel show's early history it could be intercalated whenever the audience's attention needed to be focused on a particular act, and it could be enlarged into an act itself. It is an old theatrical device, enlarged upon by the minstrel companies, perhaps first called a 'walk-around' by "Cool" White, who is blamed by some for "Buffalo Gals."
There are several banjo tunes called walk-arounds, some may stem from the music played during that stage of the performance, but they may just be names applied to tunes by banjoists long after the minstrels heyday.

The walk-around became a fixture at the end of the first half of the show; the end-of-show 'walk-around developed later. This depended upon the particular minstrel troupe and which stage in the development of the shows you are talking about.

This is all digression; the walk-around question was raised regarding its attribution to African-American origins.


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: GUEST,Lighter at work
Date: 25 May 05 - 09:36 AM

Hey, Q, without a piano-player going berserk on "Buffalo Gals" (or "Golden Slippers"), we couldn't have had any of those great saloon brawls in B Westerns !

One thing we can all agree on is that "Dixie" is a great American melody, written to entertain, and it's a shame that historical accidents have so complicated its performance and enjoyment.

Eventually the discord will be forgotten. Most of us now hear "The British Grenadiers" without shuddering from its associations with the Revolutionary War. So may it be with "Dixie."

(By the way, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" is now actually sung as a hymn in some conservative, mostly white, Southern churches without much care that it used to be the war cry of the Damyankees.)


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: farmerj
Date: 25 May 05 - 09:51 AM

Q,
Good job with the walkaround.
You are asking an important question, the extent of "authentic" black content in minstrelsy. It's one of the main questions that is entirely open to answer even still. Rourke felt the walkaround had a resemblance to black performance traditions. Later scholars are still trying to get a grip on the origins, not to mention purposes and impact, of minstrelsy.
---
Lighter makes a great point, that songs change in their meanings and resonances over time. This is definitely true of "Dixie." It's still a difficult song to perform, for its complex associations, and in fact, the little community festival here --the Dan Emmett Music and Arts Festival, which we founded in 1980 (but no longer are associated with)--for a while banned the singing of "Dixie."


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: An Englishman Abroad
Date: 25 May 05 - 11:18 AM

What a good thred. Reasoned argument without bad feeling. The information imparted is invaluable.

I lived in Mount Vernon Ohio before moving to Columbus. I did a presentation in the Dan Emmett center last month. Lots of history there, the Vernonites are proud of him.

Anyone in my area

all the best    John


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: GUEST,Lighter at lunch
Date: 25 May 05 - 12:01 PM

The unutterable sadness conveyed by the dirgelike performance of "Dixie" to accompany "Ken Burns's The Civil War" stands out in my mind along with Jay Ungar's "Ashokan Farewell," another permanent contribution to American music.

Not every peppy tune adapts so well to slow treatment.

Anybody reading this thread should rent the Ken Burns series if they've never seen it. It's not perfect, but it'll more than do till the perfect one is made.


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 May 05 - 05:02 PM

Digression to the nth power-
Just curious- Do some people refuse to drink from Dixie cups? The name appeared in 1919 as a replacement for "Health Kup."
Dixie Cup
The original plant is at Easton, PA. Now owned by something called the Fort James Corporation, which in turn is controlled by Georgia-Pacific which ---

Ignore my comment about Cool White. Association with name is doubtful

Found an article which mentions a walk-around used at the beginning of a minstrel show. Not sure it is reliable.


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Subject: RE: Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg
From: Goose Gander
Date: 25 May 05 - 05:08 PM

To further digress, with a note of irony, the Dixie Chicks are anti-G.W. Bush.


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